January 23, 2023

The dedication of friends and family

Audrey and Doug had just celebrated their son Ryan’s 32nd birthday. Following the celebration, Audrey and Doug then left to go on their trip to Australia.

Their trip was cut short, as when they landed, they immediately got back on the same plane back home. While in the air, the airline received a call that would forever change the course of Audrey and Doug’s lives. They had learned that Ryan had been in a car accident that left him in critical condition.

Ryan was in a coma at Foothills Medical Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for about a week. But as it looked like he was starting to emerge, he contracted pneumonia that wasn’t responding to treatment, and they had to induce the coma back to put an oscillator on him. After being in a coma for 32 days, Ryan emerged, and Audrey praised the care he received while in the ICU.

“Oh, the ICU is beyond excellent,” Audrey said. “The care was exceptional.”

Audrey emphasized the exceptional care of one critical care physician in the ICU, Dr. Andreas Kramer.

“He took us aside and said to us, ‘Don’t give up, don’t back down. We’re going to do everything we can do, but no one can advocate for your son like you, can and we don’t want you to stop.’” Audrey said.

“He was so optimistic and kept saying to us, ‘We’re not quitting on this kid.’”

This encouragement coming from his physician helped the family stay strong and hopeful in an incredibly difficult time.

Ryan’s accident was seven years ago, and he’s been making incredible improvements over the past few years with the help of dedicated family and friends. Luckily, Ryan didn’t suffer any cognitive issues. However, he developed right-side paralysis and has been slowly working on gaining mobility back with the help of his care team.

Audrey looked into anything that could help him gain mobility back. One of the devices she found was a solo walking track, an overhead track system that attaches to a harness to prevent a patient from falling and reduces the number of therapists who need to work with him at that moment.

Another device she found to help him gain strength was a Quadriciser, a motorized therapy tool that provides repetition of coordinated movements of all four limbs, which helps reconnect nerve pathways to the brain.

“You sit around in the hospital, so you sit and Google everything and so many things you never knew about,” Audrey said.

Audrey raved about the exceptional care, particularly that of Dr. Philippe Couillard and Dr. Andreas Kramer, for their care and dedication towards Ryan. It was the excellent care Ryan received which was the reason she decided to make annual gifts to Calgary Health Foundation, in addition to the many other philanthropic contributions she was already making to other charities.

“I didn’t even know what a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) was prior or even neuro. I didn’t even know there was a charitable option there.”

The Calgary Health Foundation is honoured Audrey has chosen to give back to help more families going through traumatic times as her family went through. Thank you, Audrey, Doug, and Ryan, for sharing your story, and everybody who supports Calgary Health Foundation with gifts throughout the year. Your generosity is helping transform health care in our community and changing the lives of the 80 percent of Albertans that depend on our health system each year.

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